IABC World Conference: 3 creative communications takeaways

By Carla Lynn
June 24, 2020
5 min read
Blog
Engagement
Creative communications – takeaways from the IABC World Conference

Creative communications is a complicated term. Generally, people associate art, music, and performance with creativity. And yes, an artist is inherently a creative person. There’s also so much more to it. 

Innovation, problem-solving, and new ways of doing things are powerful effects of creative thinking.  

Throughout the 2020 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) World Conference, creativity was a recurring theme in the keynote events, breakaway sessions, and masterclasses. 

Here are our key takeaways from the IABC World Conference around the theme of creativity…  

The 3 creative communications takeaways

Takeaway 1: encouraging creativity 

“Creativity is what is going to help us change the world” – Abigail Posner, head of the strategy at the Brand Unit, Google’s creative think tank for agencies and brands. 

We are living in unprecedented times. Now is the time to think creatively to solve real problems.  

  • How do I pivot my organization?  
  • Should I communicate with my team differently during turbulent times?  
  • Can I reinvent my processes?  
  • How can we become a better organization in this ‘new normal’? 

Finding creative answers to these questions can be overwhelming. This is why you need to break each problem down into steps to understand who you are trying to serve, ideate in a productive space, and deliver a solution rooted in your vision, mission, and values

Abigail Posner’s 3 keys to creative communications: 

1. Seek the why

Nothing is as powerful as an insight into human nature. This means understanding people, their needs, wants, and attitudes. Understanding why is profoundly game-changing as you are delving into what people are saying and feeling.

Whether your audience is your team, business target market, or company stakeholders, invest time and resources into their perspectives. 

2. Look for the links

Leonardo Da Vinci discovered that the human brain could not concentrate on two separate objects or ideas, no matter how dissimilar, without eventually forming a connection between them.  

Concepts brought together create the novel. When ideating, look to connect the unconnected to come to something new and unique. Creativity is making the connections that others haven’t. 

Challenge yourself and bring in team members who think differently or come from diverse backgrounds. The connections and resulting outcomes might surprise you! 

3. Discover your mission

Solutions aren’t meaningful unless they’re grounded in a shared vision and mission. What do you believe in? How will this solution leave the world in a better place? 

Takeaway 2: diversity leads to innovation 

“When a company truly listens to everyone’s perspective, it can be the spark that leads to innovation. Companies that are inclusive and diverse are more innovative, more profitable, and have improved employee retention rates” – Mallory Whitfield, diversity and inclusion keynote speaker. 

A 2016 study looked at 15 years of entries and awards from The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to reveal the patterns behind what they called the world’s top creative performers. One of the most interesting findings was that winning entries had 26% more people credited than non-winning entries.  

Diversity means a broad range of perspectives and insights, which automatically leads to different ideas, it’s as simple as that.  

Takeaway 3: trends on the rise

“Innovation resolves tension and in return creates new expectations” – Max Luthy, director of trends and insights at TrendWatching

Listening and noting trends is a great framework to build creative solutions. It gives insight into what audiences are expecting, as well as media that could act as vehicles for different approaches.

Do you need to be at the forefront of every trend? No; but it’s essential to listen to the mood of the moment and shape your communications from there. 

Max Luthy’s 4 trends to note: 

1. Glassbox brands 

It’s not what you say, but how you act. In an era of hyper transparency, brands are being held accountable publicly through social media. It’s the difference between putting out fires, and inspiring people. 

The only way of achieving that is by leading with empathy and transparency. 

2. Connection 

It’s time to rethink the model of business as usual, to business as social. Social commerce will drive expectations for consumption that isn’t just convenient, but also communal and experiential. It’s about human experiences and social exchange; not sales. 

This is bigger than a buy now button, social commerce is about creating a shared experience and building stronger connections by creating a community. 

3. The metaverse 

Amid COVID-19, gaming usage in the United States increased by 75%. Games aren’t an escapist use of time anymore, either. Digital communities are evolving at lightspeed. With endlessly improving technology, games have become a media platform and billions of people play, collaborate, and create across these real virtual spaces.  

Games connect people, allows self-expression, and are rooted in real events. For example, Unilever Russia, created an 8-bit game to act as their careers fair. Within this game, players could speak to recruiters, employees, and apply for positions. How’s that to take on the boring, disengaged career fair? 

As billions of people are logging trillions of hours in interactive worlds, you need to recognize that and communicate your message across these worlds. 

4. Unconsumed

Consumerism is being reinvented. It’s not about buying more but using products and services ethically and responsibly. 88% of US consumers want brands to help them be more sustainable and eco-friendly in their daily life. 

Ask yourself: are you asking people to consume more than is good for them, society and planet, or are you talking to your audience with their best interests at heart? 

Prioritizing creative communications in your business is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from this ultra-competitive market. If done right, it will not only help in establishing a stronger brand but will also widen your reach and make you more relatable.
So, how do you use creative communications to stand out in your business? Comment below. Also, if you’re looking for ways to boost your internal communications, book yourself a FREE DEMO call with us today! But before that, do not forget to take our complimentary internal communications assessment and see how your intranet efforts are performing.

Extra resources to spur creative communications:

By Carla Lynn

Carla Lynn is the resident content strategist at IC Thrive. Coming from a background in journalism before moving over to communications, she is passionate about stringing words and phrases together in clever ways. Still fairly new to internal communication, Carla has taken a research-first approach to understanding the fascinating and complex world of internal marketing.